UPDATE: This post was written prior to the general release of Windows 8.1. If you are upgrading a Windows 8 Pro with Media Center machine via the Windows Store you will be upgraded directly to Windows 8.1 with Media Center.
We were thrilled today to learn that Microsoft had reversed its decision regarding waiting to release Windows 8.1 via MSDN and TechNet until the general availability date. We think it was absolutely the right decision to allow developers and IT professionals to have access to the semi-final code early so that they could work on readying their applications and environments for end-users when the operation system is officially released to the public on October 18. But what we really care about, here at the DMZ, is how Windows 8.1 affects Windows Media Center users. While we know that most have not seen a reason to upgrade their Windows 7 home theater PCs to Windows 8, some have. Those who have are most likely going to want to upgrade to Windows 8.1 too.
The first machine that we upgraded today was a Surface Pro. We’ve been running Windows Media Center on it rather successfully of late (and really enjoying it on the touch screen tablet.) So after the update completed we looked for Media Center within the Start Screen and couldn’t find it. Looking in the eHome directory within the Windows directory on the hard drive showed that most of the important files for Media Center had been removed!
All is not lost though! If you go back through the process of adding Windows Media Center you will be reunited with the beloved application. As a reminder, to do that, just go to the Start Screen and start typing “add features”, then select “Add features to Windows 8.1”. From there just follow the wizard option for providing a product key. After it installs and reboots the machine you’ll have Windows Media Center again. You won’t even need to go through TV setup again! Our test machine was using a Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH, and it wasn’t able to find the tuners right away. To remedy that I just opened the Ceton Diagnostics app and clicked the button for “Discover Tuners”.
While it’s annoying to have to go through the process of installing Windows Media Center for a second time, we’re just happy that it’s still available.